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December 27, 11:45 AM ET
Fantasy Injuries with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Welcome to the final injury chat of 2013! Hopefully there are some diehard fantasy owners, playing in the final week of their chasmpionship match, to join in the conversation today. There are always injury concerns to discuss, no matter how deep into the season we are...

Greg P{ (State of Confusion)

If Lacy is a go, any concern of him not getting a full work load as normal, also which is a smarter play this week, Cutler or Luck?thanks for your help this year, i have learned alot from you

Stephania Bell
  (11:51 AM)

Greg: I'm not overly concerned about Lacy. Obviously, we'd like it better if he was fully healthy. But the bottom line is that he's played in the presence of this injury already and has shown he can be fully effective. He may not be at his best but he's good enough for me to start. I'd rather go Luck this week too.

vince (helena mt)

Steph, what s the word on Andre Brown and Joique Bell, are they well enough to start, whats the risk?

Stephania Bell
  (11:53 AM)

Vince: Andre Brown is coming off the concussion but got bumped up to a full practice yesterday which bodes well for Sunday. As always with concussed players returning, need to make sure there are no setbs]acks up until gametime but otherwise, should be fine. Bell also increased his practice workload Thursday and is expected to play. He could even see a bit more work given the recent ball control struggles of Reggie Bush.

Taylor (Orange, CA)

I am in the last week of the fantasy championship, is Frank Gore's knee something I should be worried about heading into the final week

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

Taylor: First of all, congrats! Second, you probably got some help from Gore in getting to the championship so you know he will play through some pain. And, this is another critical week for the Niners heading towards the playoffs. Expect him to play - and hopefully not have any in game setbacks.

WW (Still Going)

We're hearing talk about Welker suiting up. Do you see him playing this week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

WW: I don't. Only limited in practices and late last week both Chris Mortensen and Jeff Legwold were reporting he was likely to sit through Week 17. I don't think much has changed. Expect him to be out.

Matt (Houston)

Stephania, now that A-Rod has been cleared to play, would you trust him over Foles and/or Cutler? Is the risk of re-injury happening a serious one or less likely than a hamstring or muscle pull?

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

Matt: I know Foles has been hot lately so it's hard to argue with starting him. But I would definitely go Rodgers over Cutler. I suspect ROdgers may be a bit of a slow starter this weekend but given the stakes and given, frankly, him and the type of player he is, I expect him to get better as the game goes on. Yes, always the potential he takes a brutal hit and re-injures the collarbone but they feel comfortable enough that his risk now is no greater than any other time he takes the field as a QB. Not like a RB or WR with a hamstring with much higher likelihood of recurrence. I'd be comfortable starting him.

Dave (Texas)

Latest on Megatron?

Stephania Bell
  (12:04 PM)

Dave: Not practicing today either. I think it looks pretty grim as far as his chances of playing this weekend. If he does for some reason end up playing, I'd be concerned about how much and how long. He's quite banged up.

john (NY)

Hi Stephania. First and foremost..happy holidays, and thank you for all the knowledge and advice you have brought us this season! if megatron isnt playing the whole game, would you start stafford or big ben? i fear stafford will lay the same egg he has the last few weeks! -ahh my finger!

Stephania Bell
  (12:06 PM)

john: I understand the concern. Stafford has been somewhat hot/cold and you worry without Johnson in the lineup. He always has the potential to have a big day but I'd probably lean towards Big Ben for that reason.

David (Fla.)

Stephania, update on L.Sanders injury for Bucks and will protective device hamper his play? Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (12:11 PM)

David: He's only played in three games I think so far this year, so there's not a huge sample size to draw from. First game back, not likely to play more than half the game and we won't know how well he's able to handle the ball or shoot since coming off the thumb surgery. Obviously players would rather have nothing at all on their hand to possibly interfere but he's had an opportunity to practice like this for a couple of weeks. I would take a wait and see approach, especially given the nature of the surgery and the long layoff.

pj (midlo)

thanks for the chats this year Stephania - you bring a great insight. two questions if you please, any concerns that Stafford doesn't play full game and would you start Gio, Stacy or Reggie Bush this week

Stephania Bell
  (12:13 PM)

PJ: THank you for coming! I don't think there's a plan for Stafford to play an abbreviated game so I'm not particularly concerned about that, at least not yet. I'd go Stacy, purely from volume and opportunity standpoint.

Ken (VA)

Think Peterson suits up this week? If so, is he worth starting? The past few weeks he has been non existent in second halfs of games.

Stephania Bell
  (12:17 PM)

Ken: I think this is one of the toughest decisions of the week. Obviously if he doesn't play, that makes it easy. AP seemed hesitant yesterday saying that he wants to play but would have to "see how he feels" over the next few days. Seems to understand that with the foot and groin issues - which obviously affected him last week - that not only is he not able to play like himself, but he is putting himself at some additional risk. I think he wants to suit up for the last game at the Metrodome; my fear is that he does, plays a little in the first half, then comes out of the game. He's always dangerous once he takes the field but this week is really tricky. It would depend on my options but I would look very closely at them before automatically plugging him in my lineup.

Jared (Minne-SNOW-ta)

Stephania, Ive got 6 Championship matches concluding on sunday, All are within reach. Which players are at risk of reduced snaps to get extra rest before the playoffs start besides Kansas City players? It is much appreciated!!

Stephania Bell
  (12:21 PM)

Jared: Six? Maybe you should be giving out the fantasy advice! KC is actually the only team that's been vocal about it. I don't think anyone else has said out loud that they plan to rest their starters but the teams that worry me most in terms of potentially shortened outings for their stars are the ones with nothing to play for AND where the stars are banged up (AP, Megatron for instance).

Scott (Princeville, HI)

Aloha Stephania! Need to hold on to a 14-pt halftime lead! I'm concerned with MJD - would you start Donald Brown over him? Also, Shane Vereen - think he'll play?

Stephania Bell
  (12:23 PM)

Scott: Aloha! I understand the concern. I'm guessing he plays but he'd be another one I'd be worried might not last an entire game. I would probably start Brown and Vereeen over him. I do think Vereen plays, primarily since he has been at practice every day. No indication thus far that he'll sit although it will be interesting to see how the Pats designate him later today.

Zach (OKC)

Will Chicago be more likely to run more against Green Bay's terrible run D or pass it more because Clay Mathews is out and there is no pass rush?

Stephania Bell
  (12:31 PM)

Zach: I'm guessing they'll run early but they may be forced into a passing game, esp if Green Bay gets a big scoring jump. Hard for me to imagine Forte not being a big part of the game but Cutler will have to throw (presumably targeting Marshall off the bat) to some degree and no doubt benefits from Matthew's absence. Like I said, I'm guessing; always hard to predict how a game will unfold, esp with the stakes being what they are and everyone knowing they win or they're done.

Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)

Speaking of other options besides AP, would you consider using Ingram instead? thanks

Stephania Bell
  (12:34 PM)

Stuart: That's digging pretty deep. Only if AP wasn't starting. I'm thinking I might promote a high flex option WR or RB in his place, unless he's offficially out.

Stewart (North Carolina)

Who should I drop in order to pick up Tyreke Evans: Wilson Chandler, Ersan Ilysova, or Amir Johnson? Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (12:37 PM)

Stewart: All guys getting healthy around the same time (or healthi-er)...I'm going with Johnson, consistency reasons more than anything.

Scott (Philpot, KY)

Hope you had a nice Christmas Stephania. I won one league first time ever by .18 of a point, but a win is a win. My other league I was horrible 1-15 but we play the last week for small prize and for b____ bowl winner who has to wait on everyone next years draft party I dont want to be that guy. So who do you trust out of these guys Blount, Gore, MJD or Starks need 2 of them? Also have M Lewis do you like him over Fauria considering Megatron might not play? Thanks and Happy New Year

Stephania Bell
  (12:42 PM)

Scott: I did have a nice Christmas, thank you. Congrats on the win, doesn't matter what the margin of victory was.. I'd probably go Blount and Gore. Not counting on much from MJD and I think Lacy gets the bulk of the work in this must win game. I still like Fauria but it's hard to ignore Lewis getting a touchdown in each of the last four games. Still think Fauria finds the end zone for Stafford. Good luck! And happy New Year!

Danny (Tulsa)

With Rodgers back, do you think Jordy is a good flex over Crabtree, J.Bell or Andre Brown? Or should I flex Starks in hopes that GB will run all over Chicago (have Lacy at RB2) & minimize risk of re-injury to A-Rod?

Stephania Bell
  (12:44 PM)

Danny: I think Jordy's value goes way up with Rodgers back. Definitely use him in that position.

Jeff (Lexinton, KY )

Do you think Ben Tate is worth holding on as a keeper next year he could be a starter if he leaves Houston?

Stephania Bell
  (12:45 PM)

Jeff: Not for me. THe combination of a pretty extensive injury history and the uncertainty about where he ends up and what role make him not worth placing in keeper status for me.

Stephania Bell
  (12:46 PM)

Thanks everyone for coming to the chat! Happy New Year and best of luck in Week 17. We'll catch up again in 2014. Cheers!